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Erwin Blumenfeld's early career began in an older photographic age. Born in Germany in 1897, his business took off in the 30s, where he photographed customers at his leather goods shop in Amsterdam. From the start he was very much influenced by the idea of photography as art, valuing sincerity above commercial considerations. He saw himself not as a photojournalist, but as someone who explored how best to show a fashionable object without documenting it. His life and work impressively document the socio-political context of artistic development between the two World Wars, while highlighting the individual consequences of emigration.

In the first years of his career, he worked only in black and white, but as soon as it became technically possible he enthusiastically used color. He transferred his experiences with black-and-white photography to color; applying them to the field of fashion, he developed a particularly original repertoire of forms. The female body became Erwin Blumenfeld’s principal subject. In his initial portrait work, then the nudes he produced while living in Paris and, later on, his fashion photography, he sought to bring out the unknown, hidden nature of his subjects; the object of his quest was not realism, but the mystery of reality.


2014 Retrospective. Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

2013 Blumenfeld Studio, Color, New York 1941-1960. Somerset House, London UK The Hidden Ritual of Beauty. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum for Photography, Tokyo, Japan Blumenfeld Studio, Color, New York 1941-1960. Museum Folkwang-Essen, Germany

2012 Blumenfeld Studio, Color, New York 1941-1960. Musée Nicéphore Niépce Chalon sur Saône, France Musée Nicéphore Niépce Chalon sur Saône, France

2011 Modern Beauty. Villa Noailles, Hyéres, France

2009 Dada Montages 1916-1933. Beische Galerie, Berlin

2006 Erwin Blumenfeld ‘The Dutch Years’. The Hague Museum of Photography, Netherland

1998 Blumenfeld. Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris, 1998. Paris Erwin Blumenfeld, Jewish Historical Museum, Ansterdam, Netherlands

1997 Batons chiffres et lettres FIAC 97. Galerie Sonia Zannettacci, Espace Eiffel Branly, Paris, France

1996 Blumenfeld; A Fetish for Beauty. Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich Switzerland Blumenfeld; A Fetish for Beauty. Barbican, London

1995 Blumenfeld, Photographies, 1936-1958. Galerie Sonia Zannettacci, Geneva, Switzerland

1993 Blumenfeld & Citroen, The Photographer's Gallery, Londres, Angleterre

1992 Collages et photos, Robert Koch Gallery, San Fracisco, U.S.A

1990 Collages et photos, Galleria Milano, Milan, Italy

1989 Photographies de Mode, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland 'DADA Collages e Fotogafie 1916-1930', Galerie Milano. Berlinische Gallery, Berlin, Allemagne

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